For many of us, the gradual easing of lockdown brings welcome opportunities – to see friends and family, play sports and get back to a bit of normality (even if at a social distance).
However, after being in lockdown for a long time it is naturally going to feel strange as restrictions continue to ease. What will life after lockdown look like? How will we adjust? How can we ensure that we’ll be safe? Returning to life outside of lockdown may bring a level of worry, but what we can we do the help overcome these worries? Here’s some top tips from the University’s Counselling and Mental Health team:
Think about what you can and can’t control
There are lots of things that you can’t control that may cause fear and worry – but there are some things you can manage or plan for. So, although you can’t control the lifting of the lockdown restrictions, you can control how you will adapt to this. Having a staged action plan for managing things you think you might find difficult may help.
Rather than focusing on the ‘big world’ situation’ try to focus on your ‘small world’ that you can control, such as the structure of your days, exercise, relationships with the people around you and areas of yourself you want to develop. Mastery of a new skill can have a very positive effect on self-esteem. Changing the focus of our attention can stop us from over worrying about things that are out of our control.
Take one day at a time, recognising that you need to go at the right pace for you is important. It may be that rather then focusing on what the next few months will bring, just focus on today and tomorrow, and this won’t feel as overwhelming.
Think about the positive changes this could bring
These unprecedented times have meant that we have had to adjust to a new way of living but try and think about the positive changes this may bring. This could provide you with the opportunity to review your own boundaries and focuses – what’s important to you and aligned with your values? You can then plan to integrate this into your post-lockdown self.
Seek advice if you need it
It’s more important than ever to keep on talking. Reaching out to your family and friends and people you trust can provide comfort, but there are also alternative options that might be useful for you. The NHS Every Mind Matters has a series of readily available resources, and don’t forget, you can also contact the University’s student support team at Firstpoint where you can access STAR appointments with the Counselling & Mental Health Team.